Sunday, November 22

Sniff test to preserve old books

I was invited to a breakfast with some of the grand poo bah’s, and one of the things that they ask in the initial form was to state your hobby. I stated that I was a bibliophile and one of the most interesting and loving things about this hobby is the lovely smell of old books. Its just so brilliant. So this news story really hit the interest points for me. I quote:

The key to preserving the old, degrading paper of treasured, ageing books is contained in the smell of their pages, say scientists.

Researchers report in the journal Analytical Chemistry that a new "sniff test" can measure degradation of old books and historical documents.

The test picks up and identifies the chemicals that the pages release as they degrade.

This could help libraries and museums preserve a range of precious books.

The test is based on detecting the levels of volatile organic compounds.

These are released by paper as it ages and produce the familiar "old book smell".

The international research team, led by Matija Strlic from University College London's Centre for Sustainable Heritage, describes that smell as "a combination of grassy notes with a tang of acids and a hint of vanilla over an underlying mustiness".

So THAT’s what I was smelling, lol.

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